1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    Synopsis Is your synopsis boring?

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by deadrats, Dec 17, 2019.

    Anyone around here a synopsis wiz? I need to hand in a one-page synopsis of my novel for this thing I'm applying for. I've got something down, but it feels boring, lackluster. How do I liven it up? My story's not boring. So, why is my synopsis?

    Has anyone ever taken a creative approach when writing a synopsis? Like maybe played with POV, tense or even form? What if I write it present tense in first person? This isn't how the novel is written, but I think something like this could be more of a sampling of how I write and the tone of the story. I feel like I could pick just about any character and write this. It would be how they introduce the story and give an overview. I know that would come with some bias, but whoever was reading it would obviously know that as well. I'm honestly not sure if this sort of thing is a good idea or not. It might seem too gimmicky. These are serious things I am applying for.

    Or is it best just to stick to the way it's pretty much always done? I don't want to seem like I don't know what I'm doing. But if saying with the standard format and approach of a synopsis, how do you get it to sound more exciting? What am I doing wrong? Has anyone else wrote an exciting novel only to realize when it's summed up on one page, it's really not all that exciting (at least when summed up in one page)?
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    IDK, synopsis are usually not that long, unless it is a double spaced page.
    I think the way you have to play it out is with semi vague points of intrigue.
    Pick out the high points that make the reader want to know what exactly
    happens in the story itself. While not the simplest thing to do in practice,
    it is something that I enjoy if reading a well thought out blurb on a back
    cover is anything to go off of.
    I mean that is essentially what the blurb is, a quick and intriguing synopsis
    of the story. Typically in third person regardless of the in story POV, that
    sets up the events in an engaging way, while cutting out the bits that may
    be a lull in the story. (Though it helps to not have massive peaks and valleys
    in the flow of the story, causing the whole thing to feel like a rush and a slow
    slog throughout the entire read.) :p

    Good luck, and study back blurbs of books that you enjoy reading, and see
    if you can emulate the style. :)
    Fiender_ and deadrats like this.
  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    These things aren't as easy as the seem or should be. It feels like I've been working on this constantly. And, though it didn't take long to originally get something down, it sure is a slow process to get this synopsis to make a splash.

    I've quickly abandoned my thoughts of taking a more creative approach to writing a synopsis. I just don't really feel like it's appropriate when I want my work taken seriously. I think I have a good story without needing to do tricks for attention. And it's just not worth it backfiring on me.

    Today, I continue to work on my synopsis. I actually think it might be done or more likely I'm just getting closer. At first I spilled out what my story was about. It was messy, scattered and missing the real point of the story. My lover said it sounded like some crazy cartoon. Not what I was going for.

    But as I rework and rewrite it, I've been trying to really focus on the core of the story and what's really at stake for my characters. I've been able to capture more of the tone and style of the novel. It's really interesting to write a whole novel and then sit down and get it all on one page.

    The deadline for my application is fast approaching. I feel much better about this than I did yesterday.

    ***Related question: Did you really know what your book was about before writing a synopsis?

    I think this is an interesting part of the whole process. And I think it might be a good thing to work on a synopsis before diving into editing and revision. If you have a strong handle on what your book is truly saying at its core, writing a synopsis will probably be easier for you. For me, I feel like I have a better understanding of my novel. It's kind of cool to reach that point.
    Cave Troll likes this.
  4. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    I hate writing synopses. Hate it! What to include? What to leave out?

    I'm inclining toward the view that the best time to write a synopsis is early in the project, either with the initial outline or part way through the first draft (with the understanding that the synopsis, like the novel itself, will need at least one re-write).
  5. Rence

    Rence Member

    Aug 27, 2019
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    If you were to look up the synopsis of your favourite film, I bet you'd find it pretty boring. They almost read like a kid telling a story, this happened and then this happened etc. Maybe you're overthinking it a bit @deadrats ?
  6. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

    Jun 3, 2012
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    It's only a short thing, so hand it around to people to tell you the answer. You'll get tons of opinions.
  7. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

    Feb 21, 2019
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    I can't ever explain my book in an interesting way. Why? Because it's not plot or character driven. It's narrator driven.

    My plot is pretty much just a series of random adventures with an overarching plot that is purposely spoiled within like 30 pages. My characters are very stagnant, and more just placeholders for the jokes I want to tell.

    But I feel like, if someone actually read the book, they'd be entertained.

    It's pretty much a story about some average guy that gets kidnapped by aliens. They tell him he's The Chosen One, and that he must defeat this evil dude, but we, the readers, find out that the prophecy is all a bunch of bologna. But the characters don't know that until after they go on a few adventures, culminating in the anti-climactic ending of them realizing it's all bologna. Then, a squabble happens, and an actual war does start. The MCs flee the planet, and that's that.
  8. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

    Jul 2, 2019
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    May I ask what type of novel your synopsis is for?

    As a general rule, the best kind of synopsis are usually ones that get right to the core of your novel which (purely from a marketing perspective) is the selling point. If you have identified that, then the goal is to write around that point.
  9. VanillaThunder

    VanillaThunder New Member

    Jan 18, 2020
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    That is the hardest synopsis to write. Existensialism. Fyodors books. I spent a LONG time writing the following backside to my existensialist comedy book THE CARROT MAN. But I realized big specific events are what sounds good in a synopsis/blurb.


    When a 30-year-old neurotic Swede moves into a filthy apartment — he gets the shock of a lifetime: his roommate is a carrot.

    Not the kind you shred and put in a salad with peppers and onions. No, but a real life, living, human carrot — the saggy kind.

    As his own depression spirals out of control, he starts hating his roommate for being everything he’s becoming.
    A human vegetable.

    Dishes build up in the kitchen. The bathroom looks like a garbage dump. And the mailbox? Doesn’t even have his name on it! And the cherry on top of the cake is that his roommate will not, under any circumstances whatsoever, take out the garbage.

    This bothers him to no end and he develops elaborate plans to force his roommate to act. He fills up the garbage bag with smelly things and goes for “mini-vacations” to his ex’s house.

    When even this fails he snaps — his roommate is about to become the last ingredient in a giant batch of carrot soup.

    TheThinkerDeath likes this.
  10. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    I can write, edit, edit a massive text - I've chopped out more than I've kept in my WIP but nothing gives me the shudders like the thought of trying to sell my story in a couple of paragraphs. Most of the time I feel like I'm trying to sound like a voice over in a 90s straight to video trailer. -- His dreams were beautiful innocent harmless ... until the day they all came true ... Shadows in the Storm.
    I'd keep it crisp and exact and make sure to emphasize the thing that sets your book apart from the other books in your genre.
    And if you had a few beta readers maybe ask them to sum up the story in a few words - maybe they'll hit on something -- a selling point you've missed?
    marshipan and Cave Troll like this.
  11. HeathBar

    HeathBar Active Member

    Feb 28, 2019
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    Yes, but no. Struggling with my query/synopsis revealed to me that I might have some structural issues. Trying to summarize what it was "about" wasn't fitting into what it was. I think (?) I've figured out how to fix it, but it was a very, very insightful exercise and one that I will do much earlier in the process when working on future novels.
    deadrats likes this.

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